Mehmet Güleryüz, Painter

Mehmet Güleryüz was enrolled to Istanbul State Academy of Fine Arts in 1958 where he studied Painting yet he considers his first encounter with art to be during his early childhood as a child of an artist family whose roots of art skills were of a genetic character.

A family tradition, calligraphy was performed later to depict the last name of the family which initially used the pseudonym “Rûşeni” for a debonair, open, graceful writing thus becoming the “Ruşeniler” and than the “Güleryüz” (debonair) family. Calligraphy art leaves the legacy of passion for art to the new generations. His Aunt, Bedia Güleryüz, was one of the first students of Sanayi-i Nefise Mektebi (Fine Arts School) and also the woman portrait in the work of art painted by a master, Feyhaman Duran in 1932. On the other hand, his uncle has been a role model for Mehmet Güleryüz as a Renaissance artist who sculpts sculptures and plays the violoncello with a burning passion and also produces violins.

Mehmet Güleryüz also acts at the Arena Theater as a professional drama actor in the later years, performed impressions of his family once as a child and wrote and played his own scripts in the boarding elementary school. But his self-confidence, although frequently tested by his father who wished him to be engaged in writing, was based on his painting talent. When he was only about ten, he was assigned very demanding subjects by his father for painting such as circumcision feasts of princes similar to those painted in “Surname” in 18th century by miniature master Levni.  Even after attempts which resulted with failure from time to time, Mehmet Güleryüz was not daunted and his determination became a result of close perception of the lives dedicated to art and understanding of what people can waive from and face up to in the path of art at a very young age.

All Mehmet Güleryüz dreamed of was to attend the Academy after completing Saint Joseph High School.  He realizes his dream although during that period it was not possible to professionally perform art and make a living. He opened his first exhibition in 1963 and second in 1965. Mehmet Güleryüz called those years the time of deadlock and solitude.  He graduated in 1966 because of suspending school for two years. The works he painted when he was a student are still exhibited in the collections of museums.

 Mehmet Güleryüz claims that he is a lucky man for one thing that during those years the intellectual community; writers, painters, philosophers, poets had supported and nourished each other. And for his teachers were the masters of Turkish painting; Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, Zeki Faik İzler, Ali Çelebi, Neşet Günal, Cemal Tollu.

The reason for suspending the Academy was that his understanding of art was different from, even the exact opposite of the Academy education. His paintings were in fact those not should be done by a typical Academy student, thus his grades were low and he even risked failing class. Yet he finds the answers to questions during this time in drama; when abstract painting dominated the era he confronts the Academy with his “theatrical” compositions, a unique figuration and texture expression.

His paintings express a situation rather than an event. He acts upon his intuitions.  Without planning in advance, he improvises in his works. In his own words, this is a “free wandering” about taking risks and the encouragement and self-confidence to confront one’s self, indeed a work of discovering the self by surprise attacks. This is why his art is open to different interpretations and intuitive evaluations. Mehmet Güleryüz describes his art as “unsafe”; and he knows that he can only grant to its works the right to survive when he waives the known and keeps his guard down.

Güleryüz has many works of art other than those hold by museums, corporate or private collections. Among these, he performed works of series painted especially for hotels. Mehmet Güleryüz expresses his satisfaction for the change of accommodation culture in Turkey which makes its efforts towards meeting aesthetic tastes of their guests in hotels that come in different size and styles as well. Elegant works of art that unobtrusively enter daily life visualize a different form of respect for art, Güleryüz says, and interprets this as offering as an atmosphere which the guests would like to find at their own homes.

Mehmet Güleryüz will organize a retrospective exhibition in May in Ankara which will feature a second book narrating the period after 1988 as a continuation of the first book published in 1988 about his 25 years of art life. “Güldüğüme Bakma” is the biography of the versatile artist, Mehmet Güleryüz, and it will light the way for us to witness the insights of the great master.  

Mehmet Günyeli, Photographer

Vivid and lucid colors of Mehmet Günyeli are not merely marking its photographs but also reveal the secrets of his life. A native of Istanbul, also a prominent businessman and a collector narrating each item in his award-winning, special collections, the artist aligns the colors and truths of his life.

 Günyeli also assumes the Presidency of Federation of Philately Associations for a long term and compiles the “History of Ottoman Mail” collection pursuing the traces of almost 1200 Ottoman post offices spread over the vast territory of the empire between 1840 and 1920 which is also exhibited in numerous cities of the world.  This collection is further expanded with another collection including invoices, letterheads and envelopes of business enterprises operated in the Ottoman period and with another collection of photographs shot by Ottoman travelling photographers until the beginning of 1900 who first encountered a camera in 1850’s. His archive does not become limited with the foregoing and includes Ottoman-Turkish enameled rosettes produced with rare jewelry craftsmanship and production technique and used until 1970’s as a loyalty token of associations and clubs opened after 1908, and Ottoman medals given upon the imperial order since 1700’s and granted for excellence in military, civil and administrative service, and also to public and top level foreign officials.

Mehmet Günyeli studies at Saint Joseph High School and Political Sciences and after graduation turn its photography passion into a profession whilst everything else becomes his “other” self. He uses photographs as a manner of telling and his camera as a tool of expressing his life perspective. Günyeli steps out to his journey in his mind and then realizes these frames with his camera.

Exhibition of Cuban photographs, the first stop of a triad named “Colors of Earth” followed by India and Morocco is the product of 30 years effort and becomes highly popular. Mehmet Günyeli aims at capturing daily lives of people of different continents in their own habitats and witnessing the ethnicity. Close-up portraits widely used in his photos reflect the color and light of a unique culture and are sometimes shot in perspective of alienation, and other times by bonding with the object and capturing the reality under the masks.  Mehmet Günyeli hence emphasizes that photography requires discipline and dedication.

He uses different cameras and techniques for different projects; shoots with analogue cameras outdoors and country-based projects, digital cameras for saving time in interiors, and panoramic cameras to capture wide-angles. The place of his last exhibition called “Women of Distant Worlds” demonstrates its preference to display the photographs in alternative spaces. In an authentic restaurant, different cuisines blend with the photographs from distant lands. These choices express that art should not be limited with certain locations but rather be experienced in the middle of daily life.

Mehmet Günyeli mentions that aesthetic feelings rise to the surface more when shooting portraits of women. This is because, women, regardless of the places they live in, reflect their aesthetic concerns by using a common language. Silver jeweler attached to an old woman’s ankle in India, or the paintings over the eyes of Bosnian women are only few utterances of this shared language.

Exhibition of stage photographs compromises Günyeli’s photographs of locations where different flames of enthusiasm are experienced and performances are acclaimed. The exhibition of photographs from Turkey is an experience that will take audiences to a trip to their inner selves. Both exhibitions will be displayed in alternative areas conforming to the themes. His photographs bear the traces of his admiration to Cappadocia and Mardin and he reveals that more photographs can be captured in different cities and regions. He advises other photographers not to limit their photographs in one space, but rather open up to different regions of the country and expresses that design hotels can be used as alternative art exhibition places. 

Rabia Çapa, Owner and Manager of Maçka Art Gallery

Eytam Cad. No:31 Nişantaşı, Istanbul

0 212 240 80 23

Filling the gallery with her unique presence, Rabia Çapa is born in Istanbul to a crowded and colorful family spending her childhood amidst nature until she goes to study in Sainte-Paleherie French School where she graduated in 1957. She then attends as a guest student to Istanbul State Fine Art Academy the workshop of Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu between 1958 and 1961. Rabia Çapa marries Vecdi Çapa in 1961 and settles in Ankara. 7 years after her marriage she returns to Istanbul with a desire in her heart to re-attend the workshop, however as a wife and mother, the conditions would not let her. At this point she finds a solution which would also bring to Turkey the Maçka Art Gallery that has become a home for contemporary art for the last 32 years.
Rabia Çapa decides to open the gallery with her sister Varlık Sadıkoğlu. She aims at maintaining intimate relationship with art while becoming a fine gallery manager. Two sisters work for a year just to choose a location for the gallery. In the meantime, they travel to Europe and examine European galleries. During a time when contemporary art was a new concept for Turkey, Rabia Çapa and Varlık Sadıkoğlu set off to their long and challenging journey acting dedicated to contemporary art upon these words; “Gallery is not a museum, nor is it an antique shop. Gallery is a place for the art and artist of the present time. A good gallery leaves a legacy of art and artists for the future.”

The interiors of an Italian museum greatly influence both Rabia Çapa and Varlık Sadıkoğlu. They tell the architect of Maçka Art Gallery to make the walls in the same color with the same materials. The new location of the hotel is therefore designed in the same hues with matte ceramics. Thus the “line” created by the differences between walls and floor would not intervene with the space of contemporary art works hanging on MSG. Lighting of the gallery was delivered in the hands of Şazi Sirel while Mengü Ertel designed its logo. After 2 years of hard work, Maçka Art Gallery opened its doors to art lovers in 1976. The first exhibition features “Five Realist Turkish Painters”; Cihat Burak, Nedim Günsür, Neşet Günal, Nuri İyem and Turgut Zaim.

Gallery hosts masters of plastic arts together with many young artists. Until today, works of Turkish as well as foreign artists are exhibited such as Komet, Sarkis, Adnan Çoker, Serhat Kiraz, Mehmet Güleryüz, Ayşe Erkmen, Ömer Uluç, Füsun Onur, Sabri Berkel, Canan Tolon, Füraya Koral, Seyhun Topuz, Fronçois Morellet, Thomas Horneman, Dagmar Deming, Gülsün Karamustafa, Lütfü Özkök, Selim Birsel, Graham Fagen, Kezban Arca Batıbeki, Handan Börüteçene, Daniel Buren and Joel Andrianomearisoa. In close contact with France, MSG supports artists to exhibit their works at abroad. 

Organizing 5 exhibitions in a year, each exhibition is enthusiastically greeted by the Gallery. Exhibitions begin with Rabia Çapa wearing special clothing designed collectively with the artist and her with a passion for performance and later becoming a tradition. First example of these dresses is created in the work shop of Bedri Rahmi. Yet the first dress in the Gallery is designed for Komet exhibition in 1985. A collection including over fifty dresses is exhibited both in MSG and in Cholet Textile Museum, France. Rabia Çapa tailored most recently a straitjacket designed by İbrahim Tapa for his “Istanbul Caricatures” exhibition illustrating the works. An Istanbul enthusiast, Rabia Çapa explains this straitjacket in these words; “Istanbul drives you crazy in two ways, one, for your love for it, you become crazy because you can not be without it, and second its traffic, its non planned urbanization and deformities drive you crazy.”

A presentation is made within the second week of each exhibition where the artist is given an opportunity to express him/herself. These presentations are published in the “gallery gazette” and archived. Then works are photographed and compiled in a catalogue. Maçka Art Gallery keeps a visual record of Turkish contemporary art in its gazette and catalogue archive and creates reference books.

Supporting young artists and youth approaches to art, the audiences of MSG are mainly comprised of young people and academicians. Gallery has also become a center for contemporary art collections and hosts collectors. Maçka Art Gallery was closed during a period between 1998 and 2000 when young people continued to give their supports. The letter signed by 7 people plays an important role in the re-birth of this Gallery; “We have learned to see what we look at and think about what we see in this Gallery”.

Rabia Çapa has still many projects in her mind. The first one is to turn many exhibitions opened in MSG into a museum and to create artist museums in Istanbul in different locations. Second project is to open an institute in Istanbul where newly graduates can work collectively with the most eminent artists and writers of Turkey for a one year period... She also plans to open a workshop for Turkish handicrafts.

Rabia Çapa stays in Kaş in the summer and spends her remaining time in a waterside mansion overlooking Bosporus after ending MSG exhibition program in May. She presents contemporary art works in both houses and implies that if she would have had a hotel; “I would display both old ethnic works and contemporary art because I love the way antique and contemporary art blend together.”



Arzu & Muammer Erinal, Meleklerevi “House of Angels”

An architect couple, Arzu and Muammer Erinal, who realized many project designing and development of living spaces such as residences, offices and stores within Erinal Architecture, decides to leave their homeland Istanbul and settle in Cappadocia after a trip to this magical place. The mystical ambience, unforgettable architecture and authentic texture of Cappadocia were the factors for making up their minds.

A ruin on the outside yet with sound cave rooms and a superb Ürgüp view, this house captivates the couple at first sight who indeed know the burden they are buying together with the house. The couple starts the renovation process with their cousin Architect Renovator Muammer Ünlüsoy by blending many contemporary facilities with Anatolian architecture. Projects are designed in three months by preserving the history, architecture and natural texture of the region and supported with in-depth academic knowledge, researches, observations and thousands of photographs. In the course of renovation works, interior designers prepare the detailed plans and projects for the inside of the house.

Dating back to centuries ago, to the Hittites period, Cappadocia houses were built on the hillsides either by caving the rocks or from ashlar stone work. The only architectural material of the region; stones can be transformed into a very solid structure due to their volcanic composition which is initially soft when taken out of quarry making it easy to work on and hardens when contacts with the air. Erinal couple use these cut stones for the building front and old stones (called head stones) for other spaces where structure is associated with the rocks.

They turn the technical and natural challenges faced during restoration into unique terraces, individually designed rooms and surprising spaces thanks to their knowledge on details and materials and vast experiences. After applying technical details of interior design, they use natural and simple materials which bring peace and tranquility to the place without causing clutter. Sophisticated, romantic, soft and light lace curtains, silk linens, cotton satin fabrics, massive furniture, bird nests and flowers create a fantasy-like atmosphere impelling their guests to dreaming.

The Erinal couple dedicate themselves to any project they handle with acting upon their answers to the             question “what must be done to create better, nicer, more convenient and aesthetic place which will embrace its occupants”. And these answers had never misled the couple until now. Yet they highlight that the House of Angels project was an exclusive one for them: “What makes the project special is that it belonged to us but also another region and texture. To give life to the stone! That was what had to be done.  The old, ruined but resisting House of Angels standing in the magical setting of Cappadocia bears the moments of centuries in each rock and stone. We should have dedicated our souls to this structure and it should relive the joy of life in every stone and dust.”

After arriving to the Cappadocia region and being approved by the Board for their House of Angels project; Erinal couple continue with their renovation project designing, implementation and interior design works in Ürgüp.




İlkbakış - Wine

Bozcaada grape

Reşit Soley, with an effort towards preventing the loss of island’s antique vineyards and winemaking tradition, shows us all that rewinding the time is possible with his Corvus wine factory established.

It took me a while to realize that wine is a kind of “time capsule”; only until one new year’s night, a friend of mine opened his mother’s Hungarian wine delicately preserved since the 1960’s. It was a white color elixir of nut pie or fig rather than a wine. That bottle of wine, revealing the sunshine, rain and cool air of cellars of 40 years ago was, whatever the gourmets would say, a miracle!

After that day, I began to approach with more respect to those engaged in viniculture and wines. I happened to meet these passionate people who I began to perceive  as “the modern time alchemists” in unexpected places. Now and then, I see them in the Yazıköy village of Safranbolu in the shape of a curious peasent conducting experiments on vine stems with grafts shipped from the other side of the world; and other times as an entrepreneur with a dream of giving the kiss of life to the vineyards of Çeşme that are already turned into highlands.
The last alchemist I met is a name we all know for his magic in architecture: Reşit Soley. Making wines in Bozcaada under the “Corvus” brand it created, Soley is actually an “island freak” rather than a wine expert. He is one of the extraordinary people called “islomaniac” by Lawrence Durrel, an islomaniac writer himself... In the last 20 years whenever he is looking for peace or focuses on important projects, Reşit Soley draws himself to his balloonet in Bozcada. From then on, he feels he can not be a mere spectator to losing the island values day by day; thus with an intention of reviving the deserted vineyards, bringing back the vine growers who were put out with not being rewarded for their efforts, and of making world-class wines with the traditional grapes of Bozcaada; he invests his 25 years of savings to Corvus factory. In his words it is a project for saying “Stop!”. In other words to say stop to the loss of values what makes Bozcaada special and a step taken towards “rewinding the 2000 years of Island history”.


The vines of this dream born in August 2002 and sprouts in 2003. Buying and turning the former Tekel cognac factory to Corvus factory at the beginning of 2004, Reşit Soley starts the year’s first vintage in one of the leading edge facilities of Europe. Observing the recent vineyars of the New World (USA, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand) with admiration, Soley decides on the Italian enologues for the reason that he thinks the Italians show the same creativity they showed in art and design also to viniculture and and winemaking. As Soley praises the aesthetic in the arrangement of “rootstocks” (vine stocks), I could picture a misty Renaissance oil painting of vines covering the green hills adorned with cypresses...

I ask Reşit Soley what makes Bozcaada so special and he answers; “Terroir, meaning earth or soil...” This word is actually a jargon used by French winemakers. It is an expression that the geography or soil, the way vineyard is processed, makes a different contribution to the characteristics of wine. It is the original compound that differs the grapes grown on the opposite hills but in the same region. A secret hiding the reason why one vineyard can make a 100 dollars of wine but the adjacent vineyard can only produce a 10 dollars of wine...  

Reşit Soley bought two decares of land on the unprocessed soils of the island and planned the vineyard landscaping after analysing the soil and meteorological data of the last 20 years. So he plants the stocks, asks for the help of Israelis for irrigation system and finally has the first vintage with Çavuş grapes. The factory now produces wine from the “locals” like Boğazkere, Öküzgözü picked from the mountain villages of Elazığ, and international stars like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc… The greatest puzzle before the eyes of Italian experts working with Soley is how to make the finest and unique elixirs from the local Island grapes Vasilaki, Kuntra and Karalahna... A factory which proves itself with the international grapes naturally sets the second greatest target as to how to make original wines bearing only the taste and smell of its soil...


I now understand that exporting wine technology is nothing like bringing textile machines from Japan and starting production the next day. The secret of deep-rooted families holding the winemaking tradition in especially Europe is perhaps proves this point. The years of experiences of some generations is a heritage that is probably more valuable than money.

According to Reşit Soley, there has to be an at least 10 years of time span before they achieve the desired texture. I learn that for every wine to be produced in the Corvus factory, separate protocols are prepared. These recipes including all scientific conditions that make up a wine are re-arranged the next year if the results turn out to be unexpected. Therefore information is collected together in time. The best wines for Reşit Soley are the ones not yet born... 

Having their 2004 August harvests and productions, Corvus wines conquer not only the heart but the mouth by offering the perfect blend of quality, flavor and appearence. Produced from 100% Bozcaada grapes; Teneia (Çavuş), Zeleia (Vasilaki), Aegea (Kuntra), Vinium (Karalahna), Rarum and Aeolis are newly introduced to the island series. 

Corvus made a grand entrance with only its first wines that won 1 gold and 4 silver medals in 2006, the first place in 2007 Divan Group Best Red Wine of Turkey and was acclaimed with its 2005 harvests. The coupage series blending the local Island grapes and international grapes, golden award winner Blend No.1 2005 harvest Blend No.2 and Corvus Corpus made with only the grapes of Corvus vineyards, also 100% Corvus Cabernet Sauvignon and %100 Corvus Merlot offer world-class tastes that you can age for years.

Furthermore, the demanding wine Passito of Mediterranean islands has been initially produced by Corvus. “Passito Corvus” brings you the first, natural sweet wine of Turkey.

Corvus’ fast rise seems to cheer up Bozcaada. The demand of Reşit Soley for good quality grapes encouraged islander vine growers to increase grape quality; because now it is different than the times when Tekel was the main buyer and they can sell their quality grapes for higher prices. After a long and tiresome day at the fermentation unit and returning to home; “to make a good wine, you must not leave the vineyard,” says Reşit Soley. I learn after that he indeed made a break from architectural designs with the exception of his exclusive customers or projects. Soley, without ever giving up of his big thinking characteristic earned from his career, has his eyes on much higher places. His current dream is to create a “parent brand” which will carry Turkey to international platforms. He already named it “Proudly Turkey”.

 Soley aims at bringing the products and well-performing companies which represent our geography with success under this roof and says we have to find our own color in a world where kitsch hamburger food is popular. Don’t you think it’s time we become assertive?